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-   -   How many mealworms? (https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=191086)

I Love Hedgy 03-29-2019 02:37 PM

How many mealworms?
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Just found this post where they give their hedgehogs mealworms every day???

I thought you are supposed to give them only 2 times a week!? Thats what the vet said...

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Ria 03-29-2019 03:13 PM

Generally people say only give 5 to 10 a week. Some say 2/3 daily as they so fatty. Some people say only 2/3 every other day. And others will just give them 5 twice a week and some will give them 5 once a week.

More active hedgehogs that need the extra fat will generally be given more to try keep their weight up at a better weight so they arent underweight.
So really I think it very much depends on how active the hog is. Also a lot of people have their own opinions.

Emc 03-29-2019 03:53 PM

I've honestly never understood the incredibly limited live mealworm recommendations. 5-10 weekly sounds nuts to me, theyre insectivores and eat a huge amount of insects in the wild. My girl gets like 5-10 per night (we give other insects too, but mealies are her fav by far!). I've yet to come across one convincing argument for why to limit them so drastically; i don't see anything wrong with feeding them nightly at all. It depends on the hedgehog, some are more lazy and prone to gaining weight easier than others, so keep an eye on their weight (it's a good habit to get into weighing them weekly for health check ups anyway), but you can absolutely feed them nightly if you wish. :)

Ria 03-29-2019 04:26 PM

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To be honest I think its there to stop people only feeding mealworms, as only feeding mealworms due to the fat isnt the best thing. Even if one is only about 13% fat but if you take like 10 mealworms that is a fair bit of fat.
When feeding with other insects it would lower the overal fat intake of all the insects. - Like with the cat biscuit.

Also starting with a limit of 5-10 per week gives you the chance to get an idea first of how much weight they gain, to then lower or up it to fit it more to the hedgehog.

If you take Holly for example shes active for at least 4 hours a night (not including the 1 hour and a half out of cage play time) but she still gains a lot of weight always has. If I gave her 5-10 mealworms daily she'd be overweight. So 5-10 a week would suit her better.
Although she doesnt actually like mealworms but thats not really the point.

I'm not saying this as an argument to argue for limiting mealworms, please dont take it as.

Emc 03-29-2019 05:23 PM

i honestly dont know the cause, because even though mealworms are more fatty than crickets, live mealworms still only have ~12% fat content. Double that of crickets yes, but nothing thats going to spike a mix into unsafe levels.

Like, even if live mealworms made up 10% of your hedgehogs diet. If we consider the maximum recommended guidelines for kibble as 35% protein and 15% fat, and take the average GA for live mealworms as being 20% protein and 12% fat, the total GA for a diet composing of 10% live mealworms and 90% kibble would be 33.5% protein & 14.7% fat. < the live mealworms would actually lower (albeit slightly haha) the fat content, not increase it.

I'm not viewing your response as an argument haha, dont worry - i've always just been genuinely curious as to where the advice for limiting mealworms so drastically came from, or if it was just something that just kept being passed along the vine and nobody ever questioned it, which explains why it's still tossed around.

Some hedgehogs, like you said, gain weight easily so I can see advice for lower fat diets and limiting mealies in that regard. But generally speaking, for any average, active hedgehog; i don't see reason to limit worms to a weekly treat instead of a daily inclusion of the diet at all (personally anyways). Within reason, of course. :)

Ria 03-29-2019 05:43 PM

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I think the biggest reason is probably to stop new owners giving their hog too many at first when they arent sure how active, or how fast they gain weight to be fair.
Also as most hedgehogs still need to get the hang of using a wheel for the first few weeks they arent getting as much exercise, and mealworms tend to be the first insect they are given - not always though of course.

This is only my take on it though because I've seen more expiernced owners feeding like 10 a night (depending on the hog) and then telling the new owners to only give 5-10 a week&#x1f602;

belties 03-29-2019 06:58 PM

The thing to remember is that the percent of protein is only part of the equation. A small insect with a high protein percent may not contain as much total protein as a large insect with a lower percent of protein. That is why when we calculate livestock feed rations we use total digestable nutrients instead of just protein contents. These little guys are designed to eat a lot of different things of which insects are a good thing to include as they are consumed in the wild as are any thing else tasty that they come across. In all reality a broad mixed diet is as good for them as for us. As for our little one she gets 2 mealies ,baked chicken at bonding time and free choice dry cat kibble in her pen ,and we moniter her weight and exercise .

Aj.t 03-30-2019 01:49 AM

From my understanding, it has to do with hibernation. Since captive bred APH don’t hibernate, they don’t need to build up fat. Many species of wild hedgehogs will hibernate, at least for a short time, and the abundance of insects with fat will aid them in the nutrient process. There’s just not a need for APH to require a high insect diet, and it can be costly for people without easy access to captive bred insects to facilitate this.

Ria 03-30-2019 04:08 AM

APH do need a lot of insects, it should make at least half their diet. Actually the more insects make up of their diet the less their poo smells.

But APH dont have the abilty to store the fat, like other hedgehogs that do hibernate. So the APH will just gain weight, and become overweight where as a wild hedgehog will store it ready for when they hibernate in winter.

If we take how much each should weigh an APH should weigh 300g-600g to be healthy. Where as a wild hedgehog should be at least 600g especially before hibernation otherwise they die in hibernation.

So ideally hedgehogs need more low fat insects in their diet. The cat biscuit is mainly there to pick up neutrients they need to stop them becoming neutrient deficient.

I Love Hedgy 03-31-2019 02:10 AM

I have have giant mealworms, like GIANT 3 times the size of a normal mealworm. Does that make any difference? Plus, my dubia roaches are also super big, like the size of my thumbs nail.

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